Archive for the 'Rangers' Category

Myworld’s Top 100 Prospects - 70 - 61

Friday, March 3rd, 2017

70. Kevin Maitan SS (Braves) 3 - The Braves shelled out $4.25 million for him in 2016. At 17 years of age he has no minor league experience so this rating may be a bit optimistic. He can hit for power from both sides of the plate and is expected to hit for average. The Braves compare him to Chipper Jones. At 6′2″ he may have to move to third, but Dansby Swanson could also be a reason for that move. It will be interesting if the Braves have him start in the Dominican League or bring him to the United States for the rookie leagues.

69. Aaron Judge OF (Yankees) 3.15 - With a good spring he could win the right field job, though Aaron Hicks will have a say about that. At 6′7″ Judge has tremendous athleticism. He can cover ground in right field and has a strong throwing arm. What makes Yankee fans drool is his Giancarlo Stanton type power possibilities. What is a cause of concern is his plethora of strikeouts. He cut down on the whiffs last year in the minor leagues, but when promoted to the majors the whiffs returned, 42 of them in less than 100 at bats.

68. Raimel Tapia OF (Rockies) 3.25 - In the minor leagues Raimel has yet to hit less than .300. His career minor league average is .317. The Rockies outfield situation is a bit crowded so he will have to again spend most of his time in the minor leagues. With a little more meat on his bones he could surpass 20 homerun power but 40 double gap power is his current projection. The arm is good enough for right field and his defensive prowess should put him at the top of the league. If he wants to steal bases he must improve his jumps. A 63 percent career success rate will not allow managers to give him the green light.

67. Dominic Smith 1B/Of (Mets) 3.32 - Dominic may be the second coming of James Loney, with a little better bat and less of a glove. In 2016 he did break out for 14 homeruns after hitting only seven in his first two years. Also at 250 pounds Dominic will have to watch his weight so Pablo Sandoval comparisons do not creep into the conversation. He is a Lucas Duda injury away from making the Mets. His glove is solid despite his girth, however his speed would make him a liability in the outfield. Dominic hits the gaps and should consistently hit near the .300 neighborhood. If he could sprinkle in some power that would be ideal.

66. Braxton Garrett LHP (Marlins) 3.35 - The Marlins 2016 first round pick. He pitched for the gold medal winning United States team in the 18 and under World Cup of baseball. His fastball does not have great velocity, sitting in the low 90s. The curve is his best pitch, allowing him to strike out two hitters per inning in high school. He did not pitch in 2016 so extended spring training with rookie league action seems a possibility.

65. Kevin Newman SS (Pirates) 3.47 - Kevin was the Pirates first round pick in 2015. He should replace Jody Mercer at shortstop at some point in 2018. He’ll start this season in AA with a possible late season callup to get him acclimated to the major leagues. He is not a player who will light you up with his tools, but neither was Jody Mercer. He makes contact, does not have a lot of power, is consistent at shortstop but lacks gold glove type range.

64. Leody Taveras OF (Rangers) 3.5 - Leody is a $2.1 million bonus baby out of the Dominican Republic. He is a potential five tool talent, though he only took one ball over the fence in over 300 at bats in rookie ball last season. At that point he was a high school player competing against first round picks. He makes solid contact, is patient enough to draw walks, has the speed to play center and the arm to fit in right. He should begin the 2017 season in full season Low A.

63. Anthony Alford OF (Blue Jays) 3.53 - Anthony would be a five tool player with a better arm. His speed and range are good enough for center, but if that doesn’t work out he will be a better fit in left field. A top notch defensive back in football he has the speed to steal bases but the power to sail balls over fences. He did strike out 117 times in 92 games but the Blue Jays hope that gets reduced now that his focus is on baseball. A knee injury in 2016 slowed him down so the Blue Jays hope a healthy 2017 will show the real Alford.

62. David Paulino RHP (Astros) 3.57 - A history of injuries may keep Paulino in the bullpen. At 6′7″ with a mid to high 90s fastball he can be a very intimidating presence on the mound. He missed the 2014 season because of Tommy John surgery and has not pitched close to 100 innings in his last two seasons. David did make his major league debut last year, throwing seven innings. With potential for a plus slider and change Paulino has the requisite number of pitches to be a successful starter. He just needs to stay healthy.

61. Jorge Mateo 2B/SS (Yankees) 3.6 - The acquisition by the Yankees of Gleyber Torres will move Jorge to second base. It is unclear how he will take that since the Yankees had to suspend him last year after he pouted about not being promoted to AA last season. Compared to the numbers he put up in 2015 Jorge was not deserving of the promotion, his stolen base totals dropping from 82 to 36 and his batting average slipping 20 points. Speed will be his game but Jorge has deceptive power. Last year he showed it with 8 homeruns.

My World’s Top 100 - 80 - 71

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

80. Dylan Cease RHP (Cubs) 2.03 - He had Tommy John surgery as a senior in high school dropping him to the sixth round where the Cubs selected him in 2014. He’s pitched the last two years in short season ball and reports have him hitting well into triple digits (103) with his fastball, sitting in the high 90s. Last year he struck out 13.3 hitters per nine innings. The real test will be full season ball in 2017 to see if he can maintain that velocity. Dylan also needs to work on his secondary pitches (curve and change) and improve his command.

79. Jesse Winker OF (Reds) 2.05 - Winker should carry some power but a wrist injury last year prevented him from showing it. If the power does not develop this year it will be tough for him to make a major league roster. His defense limits him to left field. The only contribution he can make to a team is with his bat driving in runs. In 2015 he did drive in 55 runs but he also walked 74 times. In 2016 he walked as many times as he struck out (59). Jesse can hit, but the Reds would like to see more balls carry over the fence.

78. Sean Newcomb LHP (Braves) 2.07 - Sean was a first round pick of the Angels in 2014. The Angels traded him to the Braves in the Andrelton Simmons trade. Sean misses bats (10.7 whiffs per nine) or gets hitters to make soft contact (.216 opposition average). Last year lefties hit better against him than righties. His fastball sits in the low 90s, plenty of velocity for a lefthander, and he throws a curve and change. One weakness in his game is a lack of control, walking a batter every two innings, resulting in an unattractive ERA (3.86).

77. Isan Diaz 2B/SS (Brewers) 2.17 - The Puerto Rican broke onto the scene with a .360 average in Rookie ball in 2015, his OPS sitting at a majestic 1.076. With an average arm and lack of speed his best position appears to be second base. Last year his average dropped to .260 but he did hit 20 homeruns. His slugging average dropped .180 points but the numbers he put up in Rookie ball would be difficult to sustain. Expect him to be an offensively oriented second baseman in the major leagues. In 2017 he will start the season in High A.

76. Justus Sheffield LHP (Yankees) 2.33 - Justus was the Indians first round pick in 2014. He was one of the many prospects the Indians traded to the Yankees for Andrew Miller. He appeared in one AA start for the Yankees and struck out nine hitters in four shutout innings. With a fastball that borders along the mid 90s neighborhood Justus should be tough to hit. A 5′10″ frame does not give the downward action he needs to intimidate hitters which could explain why he is more hittable (.251 opposition average) than he should be. He will start the 2017 season in AA where he will work on improving his secondary pitches (slider and change) and throw more strikes.

75. Yohander Mendez LHP (Rangers) 2.48 - Yohander had a nice break out year last year, rising all the way from High A to the major leagues. His strikeout numbers decreased every level he advanced, but in AAA he dominated with a 0.57 ERA in seven appearances, four of them starts. The opposition hit him at a .118 clip. This led to a promotion to the Rangers where he did not fare as well (18.00 ERA, .333 opposition average). An increase in velocity to the low 90s with his fastball added more separation from his changeup. At 6′5″ he also has a good downward plane on hitters. The 2017 season should see him start at AAA.

74. Luis Ortiz RHP (Brewers) 2.63 - Luis was the number one pitcher for the United States under 18 team, resulting in the Rangers drafting him in the first round of the 2014 draft. The Rangers traded him to the Brewers in the Jonathan Lucroy trade. Ortiz has good velocity on his fastball (mid-90s) complementing it with a nasty slider. Finding a third pitch could enhance his swing and miss capability, which currently sits at an uninspiring 7.1 per nine innings. He also got hit a little bit in AA (.290 opposition average). At 20 years of age he is still young so a repeat in AA would not be a surprise.

73. Delvin Perez SS (Cardinals) 2.7 - There was a lot of talk Delvin would be a top five pick in the 2016 draft. Coming from Puerto Rico many compared him to Carlos Correa. A positive drug test dropped him to the 23rd pick in the draft. At this point his glove is ahead of his bat. His defense and speed may be better than Correa, though he committed 17 errors, however his power at this point falls far below Correa. He failed to hit a homerun in over 150 Rookie league at bats. The power could come, but it will not be near what Correa can produce. The Cardinals could rush him and promote him to Low A after his .294 rookie season or they can continue his instruction in extended spring training and have him repeat a month in Rookie League before being promoted to Low A.

72. Jake Bauers 1B/OF (Rays) 2.85 - A seventh round pick in 2013 Jake is showing that he can provide some lefthanded pop to a lineup. At AA he slugged 14 homeruns with minimal swing and miss activity. With Casey Gillespie ahead of him and slated for first base the Rays gave Jake some outfield time. His speed is not great to cover a lot of ground in the outfield, but with enough repetition he could fit in the corner. Jake was acquired from the Padres in the Wil Myers trade. He should start the 2017 season in AAA.

71. Matt Manning RHP (Tigers) 2.98 - Matt was the Tigers 2016 first round pick. Coming out of high school he has a few years of minor league ball to swim through before he makes the Tigers. A 6′6″ frame and a mid to high 90s fastball resulted in him averaging 14.1 whiffs per nine innings at rookie ball. The fastball is his premium pitch but Matt can sling a decent curve and change. The 2017 season will see him begin it at the Low A level

30 Teams in 30 Days - Texas Rangers

Saturday, January 28th, 2017

General Overview - The Rangers won this division last year with 95 wins. The loss of Ian Desmond and Mitch Moreland could be too much to overcome if their replacements don’t replicate their production. Myworld expects a couple wins to separate the Astros, Mariners and Rangers. The Rangers have the top two starters of these three teams in Yu Darvish and Cole Hamels, but their lineup will fall short to support the back end of the rotation.

Strength - Roughned Odor had a breakout year at second base. It will be hard to replicate the 33 homeruns but the Rangers need someone to replace the offense of Moreland and Desmond. A 19/135 walk to whiff rate and .296 OBA are cause for concern but Odor is still one of the best second basemen in the game. The nice season for Odor leaves future superstar Jurickson Profar without a position to play hanging on a utility role to get his at bats. Jonathan Lucroy was a nice acquisition to solidify the catching weakness from last year. At 31 years of age he may approaching the down side of his career, but he still has a season or two of solid play behind him before he reaches that level. If their health stands up Yu Darvish and Cole Hamels are two aces not matched by many. They will keep the losing streaks to a minimum. Yu Darvish has had injury issues and the rotation is too thin if either pitcher goes down for significant time. Myworld likes the stuff of Andrew Cashner, but he has always fallen short of his purported talent level.

Weakness - Shin-Soo Choo has missed a lot of games the last two seasons because of injury issues. Even when healthy his production has been below average. Not too sure what the Rangers will get from Carlos Gomez. They certainly want to get more than last year’s production, though the power numbers were decent. There is no set starter at first base. Joey Gallo could take the position but he has had some horrid major league struggles. Very few players can match his power but last year he hit .045 with 19 whiffs 30 at bats. They could go with the defense of James Loney or move Josh Hamilton there if Josh can stay healthy. Those questions also haunt them at the DH position, though this seems to be an ideal spot to keep Josh Hamilton healthy. The bullpen does not really have an established closer. Sam Dyson did a good job for them last year with 38 saves. If he fails to repeat his success Jeremy Jeffress or Matt Bush could take over. Tony Barnette closed for a number of seasons in Japan and had a successful season in the pen in his return to the major leagues. They have no established closer but they do have options if Dyson should stumble.

Nonroster Invitee - Watch for Cesar Puello possibly making it as a fourth outfielder for the Rangers. He was once a highly touted prospect for the Mets, got caught up in a drug suspension and has not been able to shake his struggles. James Loney is the best defensive option for first base if Joey Gallo should collapse in the spring. That is risking a lot with his unproductive offense. Josh Hamilton should make the roster if he can show he can stay healthy.

Breakout Prospects - Joey Gallo has had too many at bats over the last couple years to be considered a prospect. The Rangers have been waiting a long time for him to reach his potential. First base is an open spot for him. If all the contestants fail to produce at first base the Rangers could call on Ronald Guzman during mid-season just as they called on Mazara last year. Guzman does not have the power of Gallo but he is next in line. Connor Sadzeck hit the high 90s with his fastball pitching in AA but he still needs work on his secondary pitches and his command. If those improve he could be a mid-season callup, depending on need.

Prospects to Watch - Yeyson Yrizarri is still a few years away from playing shortstop for the Rangers, but they signed him to a $1.35 million bonus back in 2013. He is finally starting to put it together but a 9/91 walk to whiff will have to improve as he rises past A ball. Jairo Beras is one of these 6″6″ right fielders who bash 20 plus homeruns. Next year he will be playing in AA. Yohander Mendez was signed the same year as Guzman. The Venezuelan lefthander has a nice 6′5″ frame and a fastball in the low 90s. He had some success in AAA but needs to improve his command. The Cuban defector Andy Ibanez plays the same position as Odor. He lacks the power of Odor but makes better contact. He could play third base but lacks the power for that position, a position also occupied by Adrian Beltre.

Expected Finish - Myworld predicts five games will separate the Astros, Mariners and Rangers from first to third. The Rangers will draw the short stick and finish in third, just missing the wild card.

Rangers Sign Cuban Yander La O

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

Another player myworld watched in the Series del Caribe in Puerto Rico has signed with a major league team. Luis Yander La O signed a minor league contract with the Texas Rangers for the paltry bonus sum of $110,000. He played third base for the Cuban team, moving Yulieski Gurriel to second. Luis was a nice defensive third baseman but he had little to no power. We don’t anticipate him playing third base for a major league team. Not unless he can turn on some pitches.

Because Luis is 25 years old he is exempt from the international bonus cap. My comp for him would be a Henry Urruitia type of hitter, except Henry had a poor arm for a left fielder and as a left handed bat constantly hit the ball to the opposite field with little power, not something you want to see from your lefthanded bat who plays a corner outfield position. Luis hits right handed and probably has less power than Urrutia. Perhaps he has learned to pull the ball. The best bet for Luis to make it to the major leagues if he can show he has the skill set to play second base.

Part of his delay in signing is his changing agents. His first agent Bart Hernandez was recently indicted on trafficking charges. There could have also been a hope that some team would be willing to give him his lottery ticket, but when months of quiet was the norm for his contract talks he became more willing to agree to the lower bonus payment.

Breakout Prospects or Prospects to Watch - AL West

Monday, January 2nd, 2017

It’s a bit slow in the baseball world. The Cuban and Caribbean Leagues have taken some days off and the Australian League only plays on weekends so myworld thought we would look at some of the top prospects of each division. Myworld will select a prospect to have a major league impact in 2017 and another prospect to watch to see if he will find himself on the cusp of making the major league team in 2018. Some of these prospects to watch are veteran minor leaguers trying to over come surgery, former top prospects who have tripped in their minor league ascension or Cubans who have no history at the professional level in the United States. Today myworld takes a look at the AL West.

Los Angeles Angels

Breakout Prospect (Alex Meyer RHP) - The cupboard is bare but the Angels need starting pitching. A pitcher who has had trouble staying healthy, Alex Meyer was recently acquired from the Twins. He stands 6′9″ and heaves an upper 90s fastball. The problem has been injuries limiting the number of innings he has thrown. A lack of command has also destroyed his major league opportunities. Last year he pitched only 54 innings, with 25 of them being in the major leagues. He will be 27 in 2017 so his time is now. Because of a fragile arm expect him to start the season in the bullpen, but as shallow as the Angels are in the rotation with some success he could be moved to the starting rotation by the end of the year. The Angels will probably limit his inning count to less than 120.

Prospect to Watch (Manny Banuelos LHP) - At one point he was a top prospect with the New York Yankees and was on tap for making the major league roster out of spring training when his elbow failed him and he had to undergo Tommy John surgery. Since that surgery he has not been the same. Prior to the surgery he had a fastball that could hit the mid-90s. After the surgery it has wallowed in the low 90s. This will require him to rely more on some of his other pitches, especially his change to give the fastball the appearance of greater velocity. Elbow soreness stalled his 2016 season so expect the Angels to be cautious with him next year and move him along slowly. If he has success in the minor leagues he could be a September callup or a bullpen option if a lefty is needed.

Houston Astros

Breakout Prospect (David Paulino RHP) - Myworld is a sucker for tall pitchers and at 6′7″ David meets the height requirement. Many feel his best role will be in the bullpen but the Astros have too many holes in their starting rotation not to give Paulino a shot. Last year he got two relief appearances and one start but lacked the strikeout pitch he showed in the minor leagues to have success with the big boys. His fastball can blaze across the plate in the mid-90s and his curveball is a legitimate second pitch. Injuries have limited his innings so the Astros would not want to have him pitch more than 120 innings. Expect him to start in the bullpen if he makes the Astros at the beginning of the year, or work under a more controlled environment as a starter in AAA. If his arm is healthy he has the potential to be a number one or two starter. If his arm continues to be fragile and his change maintains inconsistency he could work as the Astros closer.

Prospect to Watch (Cionel Perez LHP) - Not a lot is known about the Cuban lefty. He initially signed for a bonus of greater than $5 million but after a physical it was reduced significantly. At 5′11″ he does not have imposing height, but that is not as important when you throw from the left side. He throws in the low 90s and has the typical array of pitches, curveball, slider and change that probably come from many different arm slots. He made his Cuban debut as a 17 year old and led the league in ERA at 2.06. Myworld had identified him as one of the top pitchers in Cuba in December 2014 when he pitched for Matanzas. At 20 years old he will probably begin the season in Low A, but if he shows the success he did as a 17 year old against Cuban veterans he will be promoted to the higher levels quickly.

Oakland Athletics

Breakout Prospect (Renato Nunez 3B) - The Venezuelan native is powering his way through the winter league, hitting 11 homeruns in Venezuela. The Athletics have a number of corner infielders stacked at AAA but none with the power of Nunez. He did struggle in a brief call up last year with a .133 average and some feel his fielding for third base is a bit spotty, making a move to first base a possibility. He lacks the foot speed to fit in a corner outfield. Expect him to club 30 plus homeruns for the Athletics once he finds a position.

Prospect to Watch (Norge Ruiz RHP) - Another Cuban pitcher recently signed. He is a smallish righthander at 5′11″ in the vein of Yunesky Maya. The Athletics hope he has more success than Yunesky. He is not really a hard thrower, sitting in the low 90s with the ability to mix in a slider, splitter and change. The hope is that he avoids the barrels of bats and when he puts men on base his ability to force the hitters to pound the ball on the ground will result in inning ending double plays. He could end up in the bullpen, but the Athletics will start him off in the starting rotation at High A. At 22 years of age he could move up quickly. A younger Cuban who the Athletics signed for a higher bonus is Lazaro Armenteros. At 17 years of age he is packed with a bundle of tools that could make him a Yasiel Puig sensation, hopefully without the attitude and lack of discipline. As he develops he could be an offensive oriented centerfielder or a complete basket case with more confidence than ability.

Seattle Mariners

Breakout Prospect (D.J. Peterson 1B/3B) - In 2014, a year after being drafted in the first round by Seattle D.J. slugged 31 homeruns in High A and AA. Things have not been so easy since as pitchers have adjusted to his pull only approach and he was slow to recognize it. 2015 was a disaster with a disappearance of his power, but last year he saw a resurgence. It still did not equal his 2014 season but his slugging average went over .400. His defense may force a shift from third base to first, and with Kyle Seager at third base that job was not open. So all he has to do is beat out Dan Voglebach for the first base job. Dan is more suited at DH. First D.J. has to improve on his power swing.

Prospect to Watch (Kyle Lewis OF) - This is a player with lots of tools but an early season injury to his knee prevented many from seeing his tool box. He was drafted in the first round by the Mariners out of a small college. Many were curious to see how he would handle the major league setting. He did quite well with a .915 OPS. Speed may have been one of his lesser tools so it will be interesting to see how the knee injury will impact that in 2017. He could be one of those hitters who bats over .300 with 30 plus homeruns if he develops. His best bet would be to play right field since his average speed may limit his range in center.

Texas Rangers

Breakout Prospect (Connor Sadzeck RHP) - The Rangers have traded away many of their top prospects to continue their playoff runs. As to be expected Connor is tall at 6′7″ and throws hard with a fastball in the high 90s. At AA last year myworld was not overwhelmed with his whiff to innings pitched ratio (140.2 to 133) and the opposition hit him at a .244 clip, but that heat will give him some attention. He still needs to develop his change as an effective third pitch, otherwise he will utilize his craft in the bullpen. His command also needs to improve as he walks three per nine innings. Major league development guys are attracted to the heat and few pitchers have a fastball that can match Connor.

Prospect to Watch (Yeyson Yrizarri SS) - The Rangers pay out huge bonuses to young prospects and nobody pays attention to them when they are 16 in the rookie league. It is when they begin raking at the higher leagues that the attention becomes focused. The Rangers paid $1.35 million for the Dominican back in 2013 and he has percolated up through their system. Last year he played in Low A where he showed he could be an offensive shortstop with power who also carries good defensive skills. He needs to improve on his 9/91 walk to whiff ratio as more advanced pitchers will exploit his tendency to swing at anything. Expect the Rangers to promote the 19 year old to High A with a move to AA possible if he achieves success.

Twins and Rangers Roster from Domestic Draft

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

Myworld takes a look at the last two teams to see what their roster would look like if they only relied on the domestic draft to build their team. Myworld only went back to 2005. The link these two teams have is they were both at one time located in D.C. We have to give our kudos to Allan Simpson and the Baseball America ultimate draft book for our research. Anything you want to know about any draft is compiled in this book that would put the Baseball Encyclopedia to shame.

The Twins find their roster filled with number ones who never fulfilled their potential, or who the Twins hope become late bloomers like Denard Span. The Rangers had a number of players on their roster from the 2007 - 2009 time period, but their offense is still lacking super stars. Chris Davis and Joey Gallo both exhibit light tower power that comes with lots of strikeouts. Gallo is still waiting to achieve some success in the majors and not turn into the second coming of Brandon Woods.

Minnesota Twins

2005 - Matt Garza (1) RHP, Brian Duensing (3) LHP, Steven Tolleson (5) UTL, Yonder Alonso (16 - DNS) 1B
2006 - Chris Parmelee (1) 1B, Jeff Manship (14) RHP, Danny Valencia (19) 3B, J.D. Martinez (36 - DNS) OF, Chase Anderson (42 - DNS) RHP
2007 - Ben Revere (1) OF, Seth Rosin (28 - DNS) RHP, Chase Anderson (40 - DNS) RHP, Chris Heston (47 - DNS) RHP,
2008 - Aaron Hicks (1) OF, Kolton Wong (16 - DNS), Aaron Barrett (20 - DNS) RHP, Michael Tonkin (30) RHP, Adam Conley (32 - DNS) LHP, George Springer (48 - DNS) OF
2009 - Kyle Gibson (1) RHP, Chris Hermann (6) C, Brian Dozier (8) 2B, Pat Light (28 - DNS) RHP
2010 - Eddie Rosario (4) OF, Ryan O’Rourke (13) LHP, Cody Martin (20 - DNS) RHP, A.J. Achter (46) RHP
2011 - Kyle Barraclough (40 - DNS) RHP
2012 - Byron Buxton (1) OF, Jose Berrios (1) RHP, J.T. Chargois (2) RHP, Tyler Duffy (5) RHP

Roster

C - Chris Herman
1B - Chris Parmalee, Yonder Alonso
2B - Brian Dozier, Kolton Wong
3B - Danny Valencia
SS - Steven Tolleson
OF - J.D.Martinez, Ben Revere, Aaron Hicks, George Springer, Eddie Rosario, Byron Buxton
SP - Matt Garza, Adam Conley, Jose Berrios, Kyle Gibson, Chase Anderson
RP - Brian Duensing, Jeff Manship, Seth Rosin, Chris Heston, Aaron Barrett, Michael Tonkin, Pat Light, Ryan O’Rourke, Cody Martin, A.J. Achter, Kyle Barraclough, J.T. Chargois, Tyler Duffy

Texas Rangers

2005 - Taylor Teagarden (3) C, Chris Dominguez (17 - DNS) 3B
2006 - Chris Davis (5) 1B, Jacob Brigham (6) RHP, Craig Gentry (10) OF, Derek Holland (25) LHP
2007 - Julio Borbon (1) OF, Neil Ramirez (1) RHP, Tommy Hunter (1) RHP, Anthony Ranaudo (11 - DNS) RHP, Drew Pomeranz (12 - DNS) LHP, Mitch Moreland (17) 1B
2008 - Justin Smoak (1) 1B, Robbie Ross (2) LHP, Joe Wieland (4) RHP, Joey Butler (15) OF, Justin Miller (16) RHP, Tanner Roarke (25) RHP, Nate Frieman (28 - DNS) 1B, Matt Andriese (37 - DNS) RHP, Brad Miller (39 - DNS) SS
2009 - Tanner Scheppers (1) RHP, Robbie Erlin (3) LHP, Jabari Blash (9 - DNS), Aaron Barrett (27 - DNS) RHP
2010 - Luke Jackson (1) RHP, Justin Grimm (5) RHP, Jared Hoying (10) SS, Alex Claudio (27) LHP
2011 - Kyle Hendricks (80 RHP, Andrew Faulkner (14) LHP, Jerad Eickhoff (15) RHP, Ryan Rua (17) OF, Nick Martinez (18) RHP, Phil Klein (30) RHP, Brandon Finnegan (45 - DNS) LHP, C.J. Edwards (48) RHP
2012 - Joey Gallo (1) 3B, Alec Asher (4) RHP, Keone Kela (12) RHP
2013 - Alex Gonzalez (1) RHP

Roster

C - Taylor Teagarden
1B - Chris Davis, Mitch Moreland, Justin Smoak, Nate Freiman
2B - Jared Hoying
3B - Joey Gallo, Chris Dominguez
SS - Brad Miller
OF - Craig Gentry, Julio Borbon, Joey Butler, Jabari Blash, Ryan Rua
SP - Drew Pomeranz, Matt Andriese, Eddie Butler, Tanner Roark, Kyle Hendricks, Branden Finnegan
RP - Tommy Hunter, Neil Ramirez, Jacob Brigham, Derek Holland, Anthony Ranaudo, Robbie Ross, Joe Wieland, Tanner Scheppers, Robbie Erlin, Aaron Barrett, Luke Jackson, Justin Grimm, Alex Claudio, Andrew Faulkner, Jerad Eickhoff, Nick Martinez, Phil Klein, C.J. Edwards, Alec Asher, Keana Kela, Alex Gonzalez

Corner Outfielder Prospect Review

Monday, October 3rd, 2016

Not an impressive list of players. These players usually lack speed, which means to be in the starting lineup power is an expected attribute from them. Below are the top ten corner outfielders as rated by Baseball America to start the 2016 season and an assessment of what they did to enhance their prospect standing or shatter it.

1. Nomar Mazara (Rangers) - He was promoted to the majors after the injury to Shin-Soo Choo. After a hot start his bat has cooled off finishing with 18 homeruns after hitting .270. Those are numbers Choo can spit out during a healthy season. The Rangers have to do something with Joey Gallo. If Ian Desmond is not signed that seems to open an outfield spot, but neither Gallo, Choo or Mazara are strong in centerfield. Nomar needs to show better plate discipline with a 37/105 walk to whiff ratio if he wants to take one of the corner slots from Choo or Gallo. One attribute Choo brings to the game is his plate discipline.

2. Austin Meadows (Pirates) - The Pirates have one of the best outfields in baseball when Andrew McKutchen is producing. This year was an off year for Andrew so if the Pirates trade him that will open up a spot for Meadows, who was drafted by the Pirates in the first round in 2013. Meadows can play centerfield but Starling Marte is the better outfielder, so it would be a move to left for Meadows if the Pirates chose to move McKutchen to another team. Injuries cut short Meadows at bats in 2016. After a little over 120 AAA at bats Austin only hit .214. Another half a season in AAA would do Meadows no harm.

3. Nick Williams (Phillies) - Nick had a rough 2016. Strikeouts are the big problem for him, 136 of them, which only came with 19 walks. Originally a property of the Rangers, he was included with a number of other prospects in the Cole Hamels trade. He has the speed to play centerfield but it is probably better suited for right field. Lightening bat speed brings some impressive power, but it also produces a lot of swings and misses, which will result in low batting averages should he make it to the major leagues.

4. Max Kepler (Twins) - One of the first players from Europe to sign a large bonus ($800,000) the son of two ballerinas chose baseball as his sport. He moved to Florida as a high schooler, went to instructional camps and after seven years is finally a major leaguer. The German native replaced Miguel Sano in right field by mid-season because of a mixture of injuries and his struggles defensively. Kepler does not have the power of Sano but is a much more polished defensive player. Once Sano was healthy Kepler had proven himself in right field. The 2016 season displayed some impressive power, but that also came with some swings and misses and a low batting average. He should hit for 20 plus homeruns each year in the major leagues but the Twins hope to see better than a .240 average.

5. Clint Frazier (Yankees) - He played in the same area as Meadows (Georgia) and was also a first round draft pick, Frazier going to the Indians. The Indians traded him to the Yankees in 2016 as part of the Andrew Miller trade. Frazier is more gifted defensively than Meadows and is a logical fit in centerfield. With the declining skills of Jacoby Ellsbury and his propensity for getting injured, Frazier could see a lot of time in center for the Yankees by mid-season. With some speed he could end up being a 20/20 player with a possibility of being a consistent 30 homerun hitter in the major leagues.

6. Jesse Winker (Reds) - Jesse kind of disappeared for the Reds in 2016, a wrist injury sapping much of his power. While he hit .303 that came with only three homeruns and about 90 singles. That would be good for someone who can steal bases and play centerfield, but Winker lacks speed and the Reds would like to see him become much more than a singles hitter. The Reds have a lot of choices for left field next year but they would like to see Winker show a little more power before they give him the left field job.

7. Hector Olivera (Released) - Hector played second base in Cuba. Despite his advancing age and mystery injury the Dodgers signed him to a big contract. The Braves ate much of that contract, trading away Jose Peraza and a cadre of veteran pitchers to get Olivera’s bat in the lineup. Problem is that bat never materialized. What myworld saw of his defense in the outfield was pretty deplorable. A domestic assault charge has ended his hopes of continuing his professional baseball career. Major league baseball suspended him, the Padres traded for him to subtract the Matt Kemp contract from their ledgers, then released Olivera. To date, no team has bothered trying to to sign him so his major league career seems to be over.

8. Kyle Tucker (Astros) - The younger brother of Preston had a pretty good year in 2016, reaching the high A level and hitting .339 in limited at bats. He has more tools than his brother and could be playing with him next year as he rises up the minor league ladder and his brother stagnates at the AAA level. It would be ideal if the 2015 first round pick could play center field, but he lacks the burner speed to play the position and is destined for a corner outfield spot. The Astros have some room in the outfield, but expect his arrival to be more in 2018 than 2017.

9. Aaron Judge (Yankees) - A massive bat from a big guy. There is a lot of non contact in his at bats, with a lot of walks and strikeouts and balls carrying over the fence when he makes contact. Despite a 6′7″ frame that would fill many NBA baseketball rosters, Judge moves pretty well to be a good right fielder. The Yankees are rebuilding and Judge showed some power in his September callup. He also showed a lot of swing and miss and a low batting average that will have to improve if he wants to win the job in 2017.

10. Hunter Renfroe (Padres) - The amazing thing is Hunter is still with the Padres after Preller tried to trade all his prospects for veterans in 2015. That was then and this is now where the Padres are now rebuilding. Renfroe should be an important part of that rebuilding project. He does not show the speed to play center, but his arm is suited for right. His bat his geared for driving in runs with balls leaving the yard. He had an impressive September callup for the Padres, putting together one game where he drove in seven runs.

Centerfield Prospect Review

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

Other than shortstop these are the darlings of major league baseball. Everyone is looking for the next Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle or Michael Trout. Below are the top ten players named by Baseball America as the best centerfielders in the minor leagues before the start of the 2016 season. Myworld will take a look at their season to see how their prospect status has progressed or regressed.

1. Byron Buxton (Twins) - The Twins are waiting for him to put his tools together. Former number one picks Denard Span and Aaron Hicks were slow learners. This is the second major league season for Buxton and the second year he has struggled. A September hot streak gives the Twins some hope that perhaps he is starting to figure things out. If he can make a little more contact he has the potential to be a five tool player. There is nothing more he can prove in the minor leagues.

2. Andrew Benintendi (Red Sox) - The Red Sox are loaded in centerfield. Andrew is not going to supplant Mookie Betts or even Jackie Bradley from the position. But he has the bat to fit in left field. Scouts expect him to hit over .300 with 20 plus homeruns. A late season callup has seen him take over the troubled Red Sox left field slot. Average speed prevents him from being a five tool player.

3. Lewis Brinson (Rangers) - If the Rangers do not resign Ian Desmond there will be no tears shed by management. Lewis appears to be ready to take over the position. Ideally the Rangers would like him to play half a season in AAA after only hitting .237 in AA with just 11 homeruns. He lacks big time stolen base speed, but his instincts and routes make him an excellent centerfielder. There is enough power in his bat to hit in the double digits in homeruns.

4. Anthony Alford (Blue Jays) - A quiet year for Alford. His body is built for football, but his swing does not incorporate over the fence power. He should fit in centerfield. Alford hit just .236 in High A with 9 homeruns. He needs to do better to reach his potential.

5. Bradley Zimmer (Indians) - Myworld was not impressed with what we saw of him in centerfield. With the trade of Clint Frazier to the Yankees in the Andrew Miller trade Zimmer appears to have won the centerfield job. He strikes out a lit (over 150) but carries some pop in his bat. Myworld is convinced the corner outfield position is best for him, with the arm to play right field. With vanilla AAA offensive numbers he will probably see at least half a season in AAA.

6. Victor Robles (Nationals) - Michael Taylor’s inability to make contact set the stage for Victor Robles to be the Nationals centerfielder of the future. That was until Trea Turner took over the position. The resume for Victor is tremendous speed to cover ground in centerfield and steal bases, but the power is lacking to fit in a corner. Victor Robles played half a season in High A so he is still a couple years away from forcing the Nationals to make a decision of who to commit to for centerfield.

7. David Dahl (Rockies) - His .300 plus batting average in a late season callup has already sealed his position for next year. The Rockies may have to trade Carlos Gonzalez or Charlie Blackmon to make room for him. The outfielder who lacks a spleen should hit for double digits in homeruns, compete for batting titles in the thin Rocky Mountain air and play enough defense to fit in centerfield. His biggest challenge will be to avoid injuries that have forced him to miss almost two complete seasons.

8. Trent Clark (Brewers) - The 2015 first round pick of the Brewers slumped with the bat this year playing in a full season league. His average dropped more than 70 points and his slugging was absent (.344) in 2016. There is enough speed in his legs to cover the ground necessary to play in centerfield. If his power does not pick up that will be the position he will fit best at.

9. Manuel Margot (Padres) - One of the players the Padres acquired for Craig Kimbrel to juice up their farm system. The potential four tool player has earned a September callup for the Padres after his success in AAA. The one tool he is lacking is power, though that may develop as he matures. Expect him to win the centerfield job for the Padres next year, if not at the start of the season, then by mid-season.

10. Brett Phillips (Brewers) - One of the players the Brewers stole from the Astros for Carlos Gomez. While he can play centerfield his average speed makes a corner outfield position his best bet. The Brewers minor league outfield depth is growing and Brett will need to hit better than .229 to get one of those major league opportunities. An inability to make contact (154 K’s) has been the big reason for his low average.

Rangers Sign Cuban Yanio Perez

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

With so many unsigned Cuban players out there myworld may change our policy about reporting every signing. Third baseman Yanio Perez was signed by Rangers for a bonus of $1.1 million. At 21 years of age Perez hits against the Rangers international salary cap but they have yet to reach that.

Perez saw minimal Nacional Series action so we are not that familiar with him. He is listed at 6′2 and 205 pounds. He did not show a lot of offensive promise in his brief Cuban professional season, but he was still a teenager when playing. Reports indicate he has some speed and potential power. He will get a chance to show those skills in the minor leagues next year at a level that will be determined by his spring training progress.

Third Base Prospects Review

Monday, September 19th, 2016

Myworld has already taken a look at the first and second base prospects as ranked by Baseball America. Now we take a look at the third base prospects who were rated in the top ten before the season and analyze what kind of season they had in 2016 and where will that take them in 2017.

1. Joey Gallo (Rangers) - You would have expected a permanent position in the major leagues this year after back to back 40 homerun seasons in 2013 and 2014. His primary position is taken by Adrian Beltre, who signed an extension to play a couple more years at third base. With Prince Fielder retired the DH spot is open and he has seen some time in the outfield. Better contact at the major league level would help his cause as 68 whiffs in 125 at bats is just not going to cut it. Spring training next year will determine whether he plays first base, left field, third base or DH. Nomar Mazara was able to have success when promoted to the Rangers to play right field. Gallo has to show success too if he wants to stick.

2. Rafael Devers (Red Sox) - Just what the Red Sox need, another player with primo hit tools. Fortunately for other major league teams he played all of this year in High A so he has a couple years before he sees the major leagues. Fielding issues could be a problem forcing a move to first base. The power has yet to show but he won’t turn 20 until October of this year. This year he hit .284 with 11 homeruns. There is no one to block his path at third base and Hanley Ramirez could be ready for DH if Devers needs to move to first.

3. Ryan McMahon (Rockies) - The Rockies already have a third baseman in Nolan Arenado. That has not forced the Rockies to move Ryan from third base. Like Gallo he strikes out too much (161) which leads to low averages (.240). His homerun numbers (12) also took a dip. His lack of speed makes a move to the outfield a problem so if Arenado stays a Rockie the only alternative for McMahon is first base. For that position he needs to show more power.

4. Ke’Bryan Hayes (Pirates) - The Pirates drafted the son of Charlie in the first round of the 2015 draft. There is still a lot of minor league ball in his career, with just 250 at bats in Low A. His bat is supposed to show power but last year in 180 at bats he did not hit a homerun. This year he sent 6 over the fence. Hayes has the defensive chops to play the position but at 210 pounds he needs to keep his body toned to stay there. Hayes still has a couple more years in the minors before his future is determined.

5. Matt Chapman (Athletics) - The Athletics have a number of corner infielders in their minor league system. Chapman last year slugged 36 homeruns to put him on the radar for either first or third base. Like many power hitters he also strikes out a lot (173) so those will have to be reduced if he wants to hit for a decent average. A .197 average in 76 at bats in the AAA Pacific Coast League is a little disappointing, but he played in Nashville, not considered one of the Pacific Coast League hitter’s parks.

6. Austin Riley (Braves) - Riley was a supplemental first round pick for the Braves in 2015. Ahead of him in AAA is Rio Ruiz, a second round pick of the Astros who the Braves acquired in their 2016 franchise sale of all their veterans. Riley has some pop (20 homeruns) but at 230 pounds he may need to move from the hot corner. Freddie Freeman will have first base for awhile and Riley lacks the speed to move to the outfield. His power should win him the third base job over Ruiz if he can show he can defend the position.

7. Colin Moran (Astros) - The Marlins made him a first round pick in 2013 after he led all college players in RBIs. The Marlins later traded him to the Astros. With the Astros there is just no room for him at third base with Yulieski Gurriel and Alex Bregman already sharing the position. Colin has not shown the power to star at the position but at 24 and playing in AAA he is ready for the major leagues. His best opportunity to make the major leagues is if the Astros trade him for a veteran player to help them navigate a playoff race. Myworld does not see a lot of major league opportunity for him.

8. Jomar Reyes (Orioles) - At 6′4″ Jomar may be a little too big to settle at third base. A move to first base is a strong possibility. He needs to show a better hit tool to be considered for a major league position. His walks to strikeouts is poor (25/102) leading to a poor average (.228). He is still down in High A so the Orioles can still show a lot of patience with him.

9. Miguel Andujar (Yankees) - He seemed to tap into his power this season, rising to AA where he combined for 12 homeruns. His average sits in the .270s despite a propensity to strike out. Miguel has all the tools to play the position and no one on the depth chart to impede his path to the major league roster. He still needs to play another year or two in the minors before the Yankees consider promoting him.

10. Jeimer Candelario (Cubs) - He may move Kris Bryant permanently to the outfield. His power falls way short of Bryant but his defense at third base is much better. He also makes better contact (70/99) with the ability to draw walks. The Cubs gave him his major league debut this year but a .091 average with five whiffs in 11 at bats shows he needs more seasoning.